Expert group calls for revision of proposed elections bill

Zubair Qureshi

Record about the sources of political parties’ fund should be presented before the Speaker National Assembly and an open debate should be held in the House over it. This is the duty of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to submit this record before the custodian of the House. Former Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and Chairman National Democratic Foundation (NDF) Kunwar Dilshad said this while addressing a roundtable on ‘Electoral Reforms and Election Bill 2017.’ He was of the view that the proposed election bill, amended version of Article 13 of the Political Parties Order 2002 should be adopted by the Parliament.
The round table dialogue, chaired by Haroon Khawaja and co-chaired by Sohail Kisat and moderated by Kanwar Javed Iqbal, was organized by the NDF in collaboration with Pakistan Freedom Movement (PFM). The dialogue is seen as an important step and it discussed, debated and concluded the current state of Electoral Reform in the form of proposed, “The Draft Elections Bill 2017, and ended up with a list of recommendations in the form of Joint-Declaration by the NDF and PFM. The experts expressed their concerns on the proposed Elections Bill 2017 and urged the stakeholders to revisit it in the light of recommendations as laid down in joint-declaration.
Kunwar Dilshad viewed that the Elections Bill 2017 was a diluted version of all existing legislations for electoral system in Pakistan thus jeopardizing the existing legal arrangements at large. All proposals received in response to Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms’ (PCER’s) invitation should be shared in the form of an analytical matrix summary annexed with the proposed Elections Bill 2017, and should be publicized before next steps in the Parliament. Kunwar Dilshad suggested that Supreme Court should be asked to decide an appeal within a period of 30 days, by introducing an amended version of Section 67 of Representation of the People Act 1976 in Elections Bill 2017. For the purpose, sub-section (3) of Section 67, after the words “Supreme Court”, the words “to be decided within thirty (30) days” should be inserted, and also after the words “day to day basis” the words “and no adjournment shall be given to any party for more than two days and that too on payment of costs” should be inserted.

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